Oregon PERS Boasts Solid PE Returns

The $59.6 billion Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund, like many pension funds, has cooled on private equity.

The organization presently has 21.4% of its investment portfolio in private equity. The goal is to bring the allocation to 16% over time.

But until then, returns appear solid. Private equity returns year to date were 6.4%, as of April, and returns for the past year were 17.5%, according to recent performance figures provided by the state pension fund.

Five-year returns were a respectable 9 percent.

Among the standout investments are the Olympic Venture Partners IV fund from 1997 with an IRR of 63.9% and the Union Square Ventures 2004 with a current IRR of 77.2 percent.

Less impressive are the Olympic Venture Partners V from 2000 (-16.9%) and the OVP Venture Partners VI from 2001 (-18.1%).

Overall, the fund enjoyed a steady recovery during the past two years. Aggregate returns on the majority of its investments (referred to as its regular account) came to 12.6% last year and 19.4% in 2009, after falling 27% in 2008.

Despite its present decision to trim its PE exposure, Oregon PERS made a string of commitments in 2008 to Austin Ventures, Technology Crossover Ventures, Union Square Ventures and VantagePoint Capital Partners.

Below is a select list of its venture capital holdings and fund of funds investments with capital allocated to each account and current IRRs. Note that the fund does not include IRRs for its most recent investments.

The fund is managed by the Oregon State Treasury, but is directed by its own board: